Leading Lady: Can A Woman Be A Leader?
You better believe it.
This isn’t a statement about the presidential candidates, so no worries. Though I just want to offer that I would have no business being in charge of the mythical red phone or red button that could launch complete annihilation. My hormonal imbalance could not handle such responsibility. Just keeping it candid right here.
I mean to dig into the messaging – particularly in church culture – that tacitly suggests women aren’t designed to lead. That we aren’t wired to be leaders.
I take issue with that.
I remember all too well one of my early leadership gaffes. I was hosting my first event as the Discipleship Director at my church, and I did not have the database code I needed to check people into the class as they arrived. I had rehearsed every detail, thought about pens and drinks and ice and napkins and chairs and volunteers and trash cans and sound and decor and tablecloths. But I couldn’t admit people. The line began to back up at the four computers, and I officially freaked. Wholly spazzed out right there. The attendees were getting fidgety as the line spilled out the door onto the sidewalk. I am currently sweating and shaking my hands, recounting the debacle. I was running to and fro between computers, calling and messaging people three hours away all at once.
A colleague was assisting me, and I was quite peeved by his apparent nonchalance about the FREAKING MAYHEM OF THE MOMENT! He eventually solved the issue and the class rolled on, starting a bit later than scheduled.
I was devastated.
I later apologized to my co-worker for my oversight, and in his response he taught me one of the most valuable leadership lessons. He said, “Everybody picked up on your panic and they responded accordingly. Your volunteers panicked with you. Your guests registered restlessness and concern in response to you. As the leader you have a lot of influence over how others around you react to the environment and the circumstances.”
I’ve never forgotten his wisdom from that mistake.
While I had a lot to learn about leading well, I fell in love with building a team and making magic happen. We all hunger to be part of something larger than ourselves and leading allows that. When we can assemble gifted people, rally them around a vision, and empower them to do what they do best, MAGIC HAPPENS. It’s exhilarating.
The last fifteen years as an educator, a mom, and a ministry leader have awarded their own education in leadership, and many of those lessons have been specific to leading as a woman. I recently had the opportunity to share many of those lessons in an article entitled, “The Challenges of Leading as a Woman.”
Military Health, Kompentenzzentrum Frau und Beruf]